Devils Tower, Wyoming – possible a laccolith Giant’s causeway – igneous rock intrusion between chalk, cools, shrinks to form hexagons Stone mountain, Georgia USA – batholith Dartmoor Tor - Batholith
Batholiths are large masses of intrusive rock that may cause a general doming up of the surface as they are forming They are only exposed after years of weathering and erosion of the less resistant overlying rock. This is made easier by the fractures and cracks formed at the surface as it is stretched during uplift. Photo – Yosemete, USA
Sills are intrusions that are formed parallel to bedding planes (horizontal strata/concordant) usually, but not always horizontal. The magma flows along lines of weakness along the bedding planes, before cooling and solidifying. As it cools, the magma contracts and cracks NB – the video makes this look like a dyke, but it IS CONCORDANT Picture taken in Glacier National Park, Montana
These are discordand – they cut across the bedding planes, often vertically. Magma flows through cracks and weaknesses but again cools and solidifies before reaching the surface. Once exposed, they can appear as outcrops of resistant rock. Picture - oregon
Igneous intrusions often have no direct impact on the landscape (apart from some upward doming upon intrusion) until the overlying rocks have been weathered away. The Isle of Arran, has some excellent examples of the impact that intrusive igneous activity has had on the formation of landscape features.
More than 60 million years ago, Greenland and North America were joined to the north-west coast of Britain, and the Atlantic Ocean was just beginning to open as the Eurasian and North American continents drifted apart. The continental crust was stretched and thinned along the west coast of Scotland. Molten rock, or magma, exploited points of weakness at centres from Skye to Antrim, forcing columns of magma towards the surface.
The Isle of Arran has been an island longer than Britain has. The continental crust in the area was stretched and thinned by plate movements magam exploited points of weakness, forcing colums of magma towards the surface. As well as volcanic extrusions, some magma, whilst injected into the crust, did not reach the surface, forming igneous intrusions. Almost half of Arran is made up of igneous rocks (including granites and lavas) many of which date back 60 million years. Over time, weathering and erosion in Arran has removed the characterisitcs volcanic shapes and worn the overlying rocks down, exposing the intruded granite below. It is this granit that now stands up as higher ground due to its greater resistance to erosion than the surrounding sedimentary rocks. The igneous intrusions on Arran, are made up of batholiths, dykes and sills - all of which have had their own impact on the landscape. 1. The hills of Northern Arran are made up of two intrusions of granite (earlier coarse grained granite and a later finer grained granite). The forces of the intrusion caused the sedimentary rocks into which the magma was intruded to arch up some 3000 metres. As the magma cooled and solidified it formed a large domeshaped batholith. Over time weathering and erosion processes have removed the overlying rocks to expose the granite batholith below. As the granite is harder and more resistant to erosion than the surrounding sedimentary rocks, it stands up as higher ground forming Arran’s northern hills and mountains. Further erosion and chemical weathering of joints in the granite (cracks formed during the cooling and shrinking of the rock) has given rise to Arran’s rugged highland scenery. 2. Southern Arran: Sills and the Landscape Formation of Arran’s sills Sills are formed when igneous rock is intruded between the bedding planes of sedimentary rocks. As the magmatic intrusion cools and shrinks it forms vertical joints (columnar jointing). In southern Arran, many sills, (some dolerite rock, some felsite) were formed in the red standstones. Impact of Sills on Arran’s Landscape The Hills of Southern Arran The sills in Southern Arran are normally inclined rather than horizontal due to tilting of Arran’s rock by earth movements. As the sills are usually harder than the rocks into which they have been intruded, they have been exposed as the weaker sedimentary rocks have been weathered and eroded. These now dominate much of the landscape and most of the hills in Southern Arran are formed of the harder sill rocks. Coastal Cliffs The exposure of sills has also created coastal cliffs (e.g. Drumadoon Point) and the columnar characteristics of the joints can clearly be seen. Waterfalls Where rivers have crossed sills, as the harder rock is not eroded as rapidly as the sedimentary rock, a step in the landscape is formed over which the water will flow as a waterfall. (Glen Ashdale has a staircase of waterfalls formed where a stream has crossed a sequence of sills.) 3. Southern Arran: Dykes and the Landscape Formation of Dykes During the opening of the Atlantic Ocean, the land, including Arran was stretched which resulted in cracks running North-South through which magma was intruded into the crust. The magma solidified underground in the vertical cracks, forming Dykes which cut across the sedimentary rocks. In contrast to sills, as dykes are vertical intrusions, as the rock cooled and shrank horizontal joints were formed. Many of Arran’s dykes radiate from the batholith intrusion. Impact of Dykes on Arran’s Landscape Southern Coastline As the dykes are formed of rocks that in most cases are harder than the surrounding sandstone, along the south coast of Arran, where they have been worn down by erosion they stand a little above the surrounding sandstones. Some form natural breakwaters, trapping sand and forming little beaches between them (separated by the line of the dyke) e.g. Kildonan Shore, Arran. Northern Landscape Where dykes cut through the granite intrusion, it is the dykes that have been worn away to form lower ground as the granite is the more resistant rock. Small gorges have formed where rivers have worn the dyke away and waterfalls and pools result. Where a dyke has cut across the mountain ridge on the north side of Glen Sannox, a v-shaped gash has been formed as the dyke has been eroded, this is known as the Witch’s Step.
Intrusive igneous activity
Unit 4: Geographical Research Tectonic Activity and Hazards
Intrusive igneous activity <ul><li>Intrusion is the movement of magma underground into spaces that exist within rock strata. </li></ul><ul><li>When this magma cools and hardens, intrusive volcanic landforms are created. </li></ul><ul><li>Weathering and erosion causes these landforms to be exposed. </li></ul>